Friday, August 3, 2012

Best of Brunch: A Bunny and Brandy Retrospective

Greetings, dear readers!  As Brandy is constantly asked to name her favorite brunch spots, we thought we would put together a list of her all time favorites, along with those of her most cherished companions.  Enjoy, and be sure to tell us about your favorite brunch spots!

Birdie Brown
As a traveler of the world, Birdie loves a cultural brunch most of all, filled with new treats to try from exotic lands.
  1. Yoshi's Cafe: A unique blend of authentic Japanese food and French technique combine to make for an elegant and refreshing experience.  Birdie highly recommends the Japanese Breakfast, which consists of rice, fruit, veggies, soup, and a seasonal fish.
  2. Big Jones:  The closest you'll get to perfectly cooked crawfish in Chicago.  Makes a Southerner almost forget the snow and ice outside!
  3. Cafe con Leche:  A little taste of Cuba, here highlighted by Jibartito, a sandwich made with fried plantains instead of bread.  Not to mention some excellent coffee.
  4. Hearty Boys: American comfort food at its finest.  Birdie especially loves the Breakfast Corndog, a pancake batter encased sausage.  Simple yet satisfying!
  5. Ann Sather: Birdie loved being able to sample some Swedish favorites on the Swedish Breakfast Plate like the Swedish pancakes, meatballs, and potato sausage.  Also, CINNAMON ROLLS.  Enough said.

Birdie's Special Award
  • Most Unique Bebida: The Southern for the Walker Texas Ranger, a creative blend of Johnny Walker and Templeton Rye spiked with cherry tobacco. 
Biscuit Brown
Biscuit, unlike her husband, likes to be constantly reminded of her home land in the Bayou, so its no surprise to see a fair few Southern favorites in her list.
  1. Nana:  Simply the most divine Chicken and Waffles one could hope for, along with some killer Gingerbread Pancakes.
  2. The Southern: From the cocktails to the Breakfast Poutin to the House Made Bacon, there has never been a menu that offered Biscuit so many of her favorite things all at the same time.
  3. Hearty Boys: A favorite across the board, Biscuit's highlight was the Vermont Coffee, perfect for keeping the cold Chicago winter at bay.
  4. Big Jones: A lush atmosphere with fabulous food can make even the grumpiest brunch goer smile.
  5. Longman and Eagle: Biscuit adored their unique take on biscuits and gravy with just a touch of sweetness to keep things interesting.

    Biscuit's Special Award
    • Best Bloody Mary: Longman and Eagle's Bloody Lawrence.  As the lady herself put it, "This is how a bloody Mary should taste!"

    Bunny, ever the stickler for sophistication, hardly ever gets to spend time in doors these days, as she assists her husband Benedict in his archaeological studies across the globe.  Its no wonder her choices reflect her desire for all things warm, familiar, and dazzling.
    1. Nana: Another perennial favorite of the bunch, not only does Nana have a fantastic Benedict (which is what Bunny bases any good brunch place on), but this is what brunch is all about- a warm, inviting, fun place to get a great meal and catch up with friends.     
    2. Nightwood: Three words- Butterscotch. Bacon. Donuts. No one can ever have enough of these sweet and savory treats.  Nightwood keeps their menu fresh with seasonal offerings like mouth watering duck quiche, but choices vary from week to week. 
    3. Bongo Room:  The White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Pancakes are quite possibly the best pancakes Bunny has ever tasted. Indeed, she is still trying to recreate these on her own (with no luck as of yet). Although wait times on weekends can sometimes become in excess of an hour, this is one instance where the food is worth sticking in for the long haul.
    4. Hearty Boys: Yes, another vote for this Lakeview eatery, but this time with Bunny highlighting them for their Chicken and Waffles, which may be hersecond favorite brunch choice after that infamous egg dish. Hearty Boys delivers moist, well spiced chicken contrasted with a sweet and delicate waffle. 
    5. Deleece: Despite the giant piece of eggshell sitting atop Bunny's meal, the Lobster Benedict was a close second for the best Benedict Bunny has ever had. The lobster was generously portioned into succulent pieces of claw, with a sweet, truffle Hollandaise for dipping was just the right touch or opulence. 

    Bunny's Special Awards:
    • Best Brunch with a View: Signature Room with 360 degrees of windows for viewing the Chicago skyline at every angle.
    • Best Brunch with a Sense of Humor: Orange's Frushi and Green Eggs and Ham

    And now for the moment you've all been waiting for, from the eclectic Queen of Brunch herself, here are Brandy's choices for the Best Brunches in Chicago (Note: Though Brandy dearly loves some of her fellow brunch experts' choices, in the interest of variety, she has chosen to try and not double up on any of her predecessor's picks.)
    1. Owen and Engine: The quintessential British Brunch, complete with scones, clotted cream, perfect tea, and even home made Brown Sauce.  If Brandy were ever forced to brunch at only one spot in Chicago, this would be a very comfortable cage.
    2. Frog and Snail: Sophisticated, yet full of whimsy, Frog and Snail is one of those rare places that will convince you to like something you've never liked before.  Creative coffee drinks and amazingly indulgent desserts highlight this increasingly popular eatery.
    3. Vincent: There is literally no where else in Chicago where one can enjoy Fried Oysters and Snert or Pancakes with Kumquat Jam.  A truly unique and magical spot.
    4. Hot Chocolate: Though one would suspect Hot Chocolate is good at the sweet stuff, the savory entrees are also well thought out and perfectly executed.
    5. M Henrietta/Henry: Hearkening back to her very first brunch with Bunny, Brandy can still picture her beautifully plated Baked Egg and the scrumptious side of Bread Pudding.

    Brandy's Special Awards:
    • Best Fruit Cup- Tweet: Colorful, whimsical, and a good variety of tidbits.
    • Best Pancakes- Southport Grocery: No matter what you put on top of your pancakes, they will never beat the purity of these Bread Pudding Pancakes
    • Best French Toast- Socca: Brioche French Toast so soft you'd think it was Angel Food Cake, topped off with melty vanilla gelato.  Dessert for breakfast at its finest.
    • Best Mimosa- Blokes and Birds: Brandy simply adored how this mimosa came dressed almost like a Sangria with bits of fruit floating on top.

      Brandy's Sweet and Savory Awards:
      • Best Overall Sweet- Bang Bang Pie Shop: Biscuits and pie for brunch... when its done well, it cannot be questioned
      • Best Overall Savory- Takashi: Amazing bowls of noodles sitting in a broth of pure love can only be made better by a side of Duck Fat Fried Chicken.

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